Diepenbrock returns to coach Paly boys basketball


The start of the 2015-16 school year will find Palo Alto High with a new athletic director and the framework for the school's new gym facilities.

Something else will be new, as well, in a manner of speaking. The Vikings will have a new boys' basketball coach.

Peter Diepenbrock, who coached the Vikings for 11 years and guided them to the CIF Division II state championship in 2006, is back.

Actually, he never left. He's finishing up his 18th year at Paly, including the past seven as head of the PE department.

Adam Sax, who has coached the Paly boys the past five years, decided to leave the program a week ago. He was living in Morgan Hill and teaching at Leland High in San Jose. Thus, there was too much commuting and he was facing the prospect coaching this coming season without a gym to call home.

According to Diepenbrock, Sax has taken a job as head boys basketball coach at Amador Valley in Pleasanton and plans on moving his family there.

Once Sax left and the Paly job was open, Diepenbrock took notice.

"I heard it was open," he said. "I told (current AD) Jason (Fung) and (AD to be) Kathi (Bowers) that I'd like to do it. They said 'great.'

"It's a great job with great, great students," Diepenbrock said. "I already know a lot of the kids. It just kind of seemed like the right thing to do. I feel like it's a good opportunity."

Diepenbrock last coached the Paly boys in 2008, a season marred by the discovery of an ineligible player who had transferred from Australia. The Vikings wound up forfeiting 11 games and finishing 5-19.

Diepenbrock had the opportunity to coach at the community college level and spent the next three years coaching the men's basketball team at Canada College in Redwood City. However, he remained in the PE department at Paly.

He has coached at the National Junior Basketball (NJB) level in Menlo Park the past four years in addition to hosting his annual summer camps.

The job opening at Paly comes with perfect timing for Diepenbrock as the cupboard has not been left bare.

"The freshman class is absolutely loaded," Diepenbrock said. "There are probably 3-6 who could play varsity next year."

Now, Diepenbrock just needs to find a place to practice and play.

"A lot of home games will be at Gunn," he said. "There's lots of work to do."

Diepenbrock, of course, is best known for the 2006-06 season that featured Jeremy Lin. That team finished 32-1, wrapping up a 24-game win streak with a 51-47 upset of highly favored Mater Dei in the state finals.

A year earlier, Paly went 31-2 and lost in the NorCal title game, giving the Vikings their best two back-to-back years in program history.

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6 people like this
Posted by Paly Hoop Faithful
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 13, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Great hire! Coach Diepenbrock is one of the best coaches in the state of California at any level. His commitment to developing good young basketball players is rivaled only by his desire to create even better young men. The fact that his former players still revere him is a testament to his ability to forge and maintain relationships with all who walk through those gymnasium doors. Palo Alto Basketball is very lucky..

3 people like this
Posted by jones
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2017 at 9:34 am

Wow in the 2017 State D1 semi finals!
#9 Palo Alto beats #8 and then #1 in quarters...
Playing in Semis this week.
Go Vikings.

3 people like this
Posted by Drew
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 13, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Diepenbrock is the best high school coach I have ever witnessed. He takes moderately talented athletes and trains them to accept their roles on the floor. If you haven't seen one of his practices, give it a try...a mixture of Marine Corps boot camp and logic classes and connection with your loved ones! Amazing.

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